All of us experience anxiety at some point. It is a normal but, uncomfortable response to fear. During periods of anxiety we experience hypervigilance and physical arousal/agitation as our bodies assess the situation and prepare for a response based on previously learnt experiences.
Some people feel they will not cope with these symptoms, this perception is often developed from experiences or events which have been very dangerous, threatening and out of a person’s control. They can include physical assaults, emotional abuse, parental abandonment and childhood trauma.
Other factors also render people vulnerable to anxiety disorders like:
- Hereditary - some people with a family history of anxiety are more likely to develop the disorder.
- Thinking styles - people who are perfectionist, have high unmanageable standards, or have a high need for control, are also vulnerable to anxiety.
- Behavioural styles – people who tend to be avoidant are more at risk of developing anxiety. This is because their world can “close in on them” as they try to escape stressful situations they also decrease their capacity to learn how to cope and adapt to difficulties.